US President Barack Obama has invited to the White House the African-American student who was suspended and handcuffed for bringing to school his homemade clock.
Ahmed Mohamed, who is the son of a Muslim immigrant from Sudan, was arrested earlier this week after his clock was inexplicably mistaken for a bomb by a teacher at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas.
His father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, told the Dallas Morning News that the 14-year-old “just wants to invent good things for mankind. But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
On Wednesday, President Obama invited the ninth-grader to take his clock to the White House.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” Obama tweeted about Mohamed. “Want to bring it to the White House?
“We should inspire more kids like you to like science,” the US president added. “It’s what makes America great.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also expressed his support for the teenager. In addition, engineers from Google, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NASA extended invitations to Mohamed to visit their facilities.
Zuckerberg said that he would like to meet with the Sudanese-American student, appreciating his work and inviting him to visit Facebook headquarters.
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed. Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post.
Police on Wednesday – finally – told Mohamed’s family that they had decided they would not charge the boy with making a hoax bomb.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that “Ahmed’s teachers have failed him,” adding that the incident could serve as a “teachable moment” about how “pernicious stereotypes” can affect people’s judgment.